How Telx delivers its highest performance with ABB Data Center Automation solution

An interview with Rafael Valdes - Director, Energy Management at Telx

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If you would like better insight and control to manage your data center operations, then you’re in the right place! Marina Thiry, Marketing for Data Center Automation at ABB met Rafael Valdes, Director of Energy Management at Telx. Telx is a data center solution provider with 20 data centers—and growing. Rafael and his team manage 225,000 MWh of power per year for over a million sqft of white space. Rafael will explain how Telx uses Decathlon for Data Centers to meet the highest level of performance and customer service while keeping costs under control.

Telx data centers

Better forecasting with more information

Main facts

Industry    Data Centers
Customer   Telx 
Country   United States
Solutions   ABB Ability Data Center Automation (DCIM)

Marina Thiry: What were your top needs that ultimately led you to adopt Decathlon for Data Centers?

Rafael Valdes: At Telx we saw our challenges manifest in two areas: operational needs and a business needs. Operations required more information to proactively maintain 100% uptime and 100% on-time deployments for our clientele. And, our business needed an automated way to more accurately forecast capacity. That is, to forecast the amount of power, cooling, space and connectivity for each of our 1200+ customers who are at various stages in their business life cycle.

For my group, Energy management, I’m directly responsible for energy bills across 20 data centers that amount to over $30 million per year. These bills continued to increase every month as we added more customers AND as our existing clients used their provisioned power. You can image how energy costs impact our bottom line! We decided we needed to gain more information and control of our data center operations. We decided we needed an industrial-strength DCIM system. 

Marina Thiry: How did you approach gaining the insight you needed while curbing costs?

Rafael Valdes: My approach was to architect a DCIM solution that had a truly open architecture and could integrate with our existing systems and applications. It needed to provide visibility across multiple sites and automate our processes. By creating a data architecture, we were able to leverage our existing infrastructure—both hardware and software assets.

DCIM functional overview - The Green Grid 2015

When we implemented this new approach, we didn’t have to replace anything! Almost like ‘plug and play’, all systems and Decathlon work in symphony with other Telx information systems. ABB's Data Center Automation solution helps us monitor and integrate data from power, HVAC, building and IT—including non-native applications. 
Rafael Valdes, Telx
“We didn’t have to replace anything. Almost like ‘plug and play,’ all systems and Decathlon for Data Centers work in symphony with other Telx information systems.”
Rafael Valdes: Our approach to DCIM allows us to gain a better understanding of our customers’ usage trends—which, in turn, enables us to forecast their needs faster and with more accuracy. By correlating data center performance metrics with third-party business applications that we already use in-house, like our enterprise financial systems, we gain far more insight—without having to fumble with exporting data into spreadsheets.

If you work in a data center and you’re using spreadsheets, then you know what I’m talking about! ABB helps us automate our data center operations—at the data layer, the network layer, and the physical infrastructure layer.

Integrating with non-native applications yields more insight

We need visibility and automation to scale quickly!

Rafael Valdes: Also, as our business grows we need to quickly scale our data center operations. Since 2006, we grew from 2 sites to 20—and we’re still growing. We need visibility into the performance of all kinds of systems regardless of the manufacturer: 
  • fuel systems,
  • power distribution systems,
  • cooling systems,
  • IT systems, basically all assets. 

This helps us find more strategic ways to manage energy consumption and assets across our 20 sites. 

For example, we’re not just optimizing electricity. In addition to classic kWh analysis, ABB allows us to incorporate utilization data from the CRAC units with the outside condenser water source data that we get from our landlord. Because of this, we can see the utilization of the CRAC units as a specific percentage of the capacity, so we can tune-up the whole facility. This is crucial analysis if your kWh and maintenance costs are very expensive. 

Example of a fuel system overview

Marina Thiry: Based on your experiences, what do you believe will be one of the most significant changes in DCIM capabilities that will appear in the market over the next two to three years?

Rafael Valdes: Information is key for data center management. I think users will start demanding that DCIM tools must readily integrate with all systems—to input and to output information from other systems, like an app on your phone.

This is one of the reasons why we execute well:  Our practice relies on a single data source for analyses by various roles.  For example, the operations team will focus on reducing energy consumption, while our executives will be looking at the same data to measure overall company revenue goals. In this example, you can see one of our facility floor plans with system performance data used by facilities, our customer optimization report used by finance, one of our power distribution dashboards used by electrical engineering, and one of our glycol loops used by our mechanical engineers. We have a single data source with multiple views for various roles. 

Example of dashboards and a report from a single data source

Marina Thiry: Thank you Rafael. To recap, Telx is using ABB Data Center Automation as a key component of their DCIM strategy.

ABB’s capability to integrate with and bring visibility to the entire data center operations enables Telx take a strategic leap forward with their business and operations: 

  • Integration with native and non-native applications, as well as component integration with power, HVAC, building and IT systems.
  • Holistic visibility and more information for faster and more accurate capacity forecasting; improved cost management by correlating data center performance metrics with financial systems.
  • Managing a flexible network of power, cooling, space and connectivity is more reliable and efficient with automation.

Ultimately, Telx continues to grow and delivering services to their customers faster—staying in front of their targets of 100% uptime and 100% on-time deployments.

ABB Ability Data Center Automation overview

  • System availability and performance
  • Capacity planning and management
  • Resource forecasting and energy planning
  • Facility & IT automation
  • Troubleshooting and root cause analysis

For more information see below or contact us.

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